South Africa’s premier national championship circuit racing series returns home to Zwartkops Raceway when the Extreme Festival visits the Pretoria circuit for the Sasol Race Day Saturday 18 August. Best of all is that most of this year’s national championship titles head to the tight and twisty racetrack poised on a knife’s edge, so race fans can rest assured of an epic day’s racing at a tight and twisty racetrack famous for explosive action and great, close racing.
Three Sasol Global Touring Car drivers are separated by just eight points at the top of that title table — reigning champion Michael Stephen leads a tie between his Engen Audi teammate Simon Moss and Sasol BMW driver Gennaro Bonafede, with Mr. Reverse Grid, Volkswagen driver Daniel Rowe next up, a short head clear of BMW privateers Michael van Rooyen and Johan Fourie, while Mathew Hodges (VW) and Robert Wolk (Sasol BMW) have something to prove, to ensure Sasol GTC car wars, come Zwartkops on Saturday…
Sasol GTC2 sees another close fight marching on Pretoria, with Keagan Masters’ VW Motorsport Golf in a slender and diminishing 11-point championship lead over Mini duo Bradley Liebenberg and Devin Robertson split by a single point. Universal Healthcare VW Golf GTI privateer Trevor Bland sits a close fourth ahead of the similar cars of Charl Smalberger and Adrian Woods’ and Dayne Angel’s Honda next up, so expect Zwartkops to deliver explosive GTC2 action too.
If speed is your fix, then the G&H Extreme Supercars should be your muti, with a superstar field including the Lamborghinis of Charl Arangies (Stradale) and Ricky Giannoccaro (G&H Transport/Tre Cugini) taking on TAR Ferrari brothers Mark and Jonathan du Toit and the Porsches of Nicky Dicks and Ant Blunden. They will also need to fend off the likes of Dawie Olivier, Gianni Giannoccaro and Len-Henry Gobeys’ wild G&H Transport BMWs and Franco di Matteo (Alfa GT) among a full field of super-quick machinery.
Jeffrey Kruger (Universal Health Care) heads to Zwartkops 15 points clear of Engen Polo Cup arch-rivals, Masters class lass Tasmin Pepper (Electric Life) and VW development prodigy Jonathan Mogotsi just 11 points further back. All three of them were involved in a dramatic crash last time out, while the Polo race was stopped after a similar smash at Zwartkops at Polo’s last visit, so expect car wars to continue there with the likes of Shaun La Reservee (Alpine VW), Clinton Bezuidenhout (Glyco), leading rookie Campos brothers Keegan and Jason (Campos/Turn 1), Delon Thompson, Darren Oates (Payen) and Daniel Duminy SMD all right there in the mix too.
It’s also all to play for on the Investchem Formula 1600 Road to Indy wings and slicks single seaters, where just three points split Nicholas van Weely (Magnificent Paints) and Stuart White (Investchem) at the top of another fraught title table. Alex Gillespie (ERP Trucking Components) sits in a lonely championship third, but there are four drivers within five points behind him, where young chargers Cameron O’ Connor (Universal) and Liam Pienaar (Phoenix) and old hands Scott Temple (Road to Race), Andrew Schofield (Investchem) and Class B leader Ian Schofield (Investchem) are set to fight it out at a circuit so well suited to those nimble machines.
Jaco Schriks leads the Hankook SA Formula Vee title chase into Pretoria by a slender 15 points over Lushen Ramchander, with Gert van den Berg a close third. Veteran Zwartkops hero Peter Hills is next up with son Brandon, Lendl Jansen and Ross Rugheimer in close attendance, ahead of Geoffrey Tugwell and another Pretoria Vee veteran, Symm Grobler.
Of added interest will be the final shootout of the 2018 Volkswagen Race Driver Challenge, which will see one of the hopefuls driving his way to become the next driver to follow in Jonathan Mogotsi’s footsteps following an intensive shootout over the past few weeks.
Two motorcycle races will be topped by Red Square Kawasaki ZX10 Masters Cup, where Sven Grune and Graeme Van Breda are set to continue their dogged championship battle in Pretoria, but will wildcard Jade Gutzeit continue to run interference up front as he did in Port Elizabeth last time out? Jaco Gous, Gareth Bezuidenhout and Pieter De Vos will meanwhile continue their close fight for third in that championship race.
Old man Wayne Spicer remains the man to beat in the Bridgestone Challenge and Bridgestone Sub 10 Superbikes, where Johan Nortje, Harry Potgieter and Dirk Stols are his closest championship competition; Byron Rothquel and Harry Timmerman are fighting over class B and Ian Thomas and Johan Nortje chase Spicer for a Masters break and Landi Sinden and Savannah Woodward do battle for Ladies’ honours.
So there you have it — the Sasol Race Day is set to thrill come Saturday 18 August when the Extreme Festival national championship races come to town. There’s more than just racing too, with a broad selection of off track family entertainment as usual; adult entry is R120 per person, students enter for R90 and under 12s get in free. Find more info and book your tickets now at www.zwartkops.co.za — see you at Zwartkops Raceway!